For the issue of Golf World that's closing today, I named Purdue's Maria Hernandez the women's college player of the week after her victory at the Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational yesterday. In the item on the senior from Pamplona, Spain, who turns 23 tomorrow, it notes how this was her second BRLI title, her third individual win of the 2008-09 season and the 11th in her career. Upon reading this in a galley, a colleague of mine came up to be and noted: "She might be the best player that I've never really heard of."
OK, so diehard college fans know all about her, but my colleague's comment pointed toward the fact that despite being a two-time Big Ten player of the year, Hernandez' accomplishments have really gone underappreciated, thanks in part to some of the other people in the Class of 2009 that have grabbed headlines in the past four years. Here's a look at some of her stats:
Year Starts Avg. Top 5s/10s % counted rds.
2005-06 12 74.2 5/6 92.1
2006-07 13 73.2 6/7 94.7
2007-08 11 71.9 5/7 96.8
2008-09 8 73.0 4/4 100
Career 44 73.14 20/24 95.4
Stop to appreciate that Hernandez' 11 career wins is the same number as Duke's Amanda Blumenherst. By year's end she's likely to be named first-team All-American for the third straight year (no Purdue player had ever earned the honor prior to Hernandez). Not only is she the Boilermakers' top golfer, but she was named the school's overall female athlete of the year in 2008. Not much more you can ask out of a player than the effort Hernandez has given in West Lafayette.